Parishioners Find ‘Mass’ Appeal in Livestreamed Church Services During Pandemic

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, Brooklyn Diocese, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Church, Catholic Community, Coronavirus, Faith, Media, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Streaming Mass right into homes is the new normal during the coronavirus quarantine, and there’s many ways to do it.

Parishioner James Moises tunes in for the Masses celebrated in Creole that air on NET-TV and stream online. 

“I’m very grateful that we are able to access it online,” he told Currents News. “Even though we are not there in person, we are able to pray along, so I really appreciate it.”

Many parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn are also now streaming themselves celebrating Mass on their Facebook pages. It’s a unique way for parishioners to stay connected to their home parish, especially during Holy Week. 

Father James Rodriguez has been streaming from Saint Rose of Lima Church in Rockaway Beach, Queens. 

“People do need to see a familiar face and their own pastor,” he said. “There’s something about the shepherd’s voice, so I wanted to make sure I was providing that.”

Over in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, Sacred Hearts & Saint Stephen has also been streaming on Facebook. 

This has helped parishioner Carolyn Zodda adjust to a world where she can’t go to Mass every day like she did before the quarantine. 

“I am so grateful that I had this opportunity to view it on Facebook, it really had been a great source of comfort for me in these difficult times,” she explained. 

Saint Francis DeSales Church in Belle Harbor, Queens, is seeing success with their videos, pulling in thousands of views and hundreds of comments. 

“To know that, that many people can take part and come together and pray, wow,” said Father James Cunningham, parochial vicar of the parish. 

“People have said how comforted they feel, especially hearing the voices of priests they know,” added pastor William Sweeney. “It really is very humbling and also the realization that God uses many different things.” 

Both pastors are also streaming live Q&As on Facebook to stay connected. That’s what people are looking for during this difficult time: connection.     

“It is working, and it gets to those people who can’t access it,” said Marin Rodriguez, she and her family watch the Holy Child Jesus Church live stream. “There are different priests streaming at different times, and you can catch it anytime, I’m grateful.”

The tool even connects people from all over the world to the Diocese of Brooklyn, like Father Christopher Heanue’s family. 

His cousin Colette has been watching him celebrate Masses at Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens. 

“It’s been valuable for his relatives here in Ireland as well, we’ve been able to tune in and feel a little bit of a connection there as well,” she said.

While many say they love being able to participate in Mass from their home, it’ll never replace being at church. 

“We do miss the personal contact, the ability to celebrate with others,” explained Holy Child Jesus parishioner Mildred Tully. “Let’s hope this subsides soon so we can get back to community worship. You don’t get to receive the actual Body and Blood of Christ, so it’s a spiritual communion.”